by Tony Medley
Runtime 84 minutes
Billy and Breda Farrell
(Aidan Kelly and Eileen Walsh, respectively) have been married for ten
years with two small children. Their marriage has reached a pivotal
point. Billy seems to have lost interest in Breda sexually and she is
feeling neglected. Unfortunately, they can’t bring themselves to talk
This is the tender story
brought to the screen by first time director Declan Recks. The
screenplay is written by Eugene O’Brien, and is based on his play, which
was a two character play with the two characters sitting on a bench,
talking to the audience. The play was a hit in Ireland and played around
The part of Breda was
played on the stage by Eileen Walsh’s older sister, Catherine Walsh.
Catherine is nine years older than Eileen. Recks and O’Brien wanted to
“go younger,” making it a story of two people reaching 30-years-old, who
are still young enough but whose marriage has fallen into trouble due to
lack of communication.
Walsh gives a stunningly
effective performance as the poor wife, still in love with her husband,
who is grappling with the apparent loss of her ability to sexually
attract her husband and who desperately feels the need to be held and
loved. She expresses her feelings with compellingly emotive blue eyes.
The scene where she deals with her loneliness in the bathtub, ever so
quietly so as not to awaken her children, is heartbreaking.
Billy is a lost soul. He
doesn’t like getting older and thinks he has an attraction to a young
girl, which causes his relationship with his wife to come to a head.
Kelly gives a remarkable performance, especially considering that he
can’t bring himself to discuss it with his wife.
This is an intuitive study
by director Recks of a young marriage with particular emphasis on the
way a young husband’s sexual wanderlust affects his loving wife. His
insight into a woman’s feelings in such a desperate situation is all the
more remarkable in that he is unmarried, as is the writer O’Brien.
Walsh gives a remarkable
performance. Because this is such a low budget (2 million Euros), Irish
film, nobody at the Academy will give it a second thought, if they even
see it. But just as they ignored “Hard Candy” and its remarkable star,
Ellen Page, despite my suggestion that she should get an Oscar®
nomination for that role, they will ignore my urging that Walsh be
considered for an Oscar® nomination for her truly exceptional
The only real criticism I
have of this film is that the Irish accent is so heavy that subtitles
would have been helpful. When I asked Recks about this, he said, “Yeah,
it was intentional. Eugene’s writing is very specific and it’s to where
we’re from. It’s specific to that area, particularly from where Eugene’s
from. They have a stronger accent and I just wanted to make it as
specific as possible. I know some people find it hard at times, but if
anything it makes them pay attention a bit more. You know you really
have to pay attention. You really have to focus so it draws people in
I did pay attention, but,
even so, there was a lot of the dialogue I had a hard time
Opens November 21.
October 1, 2008